Types of Traditional Indian Puppets

West Bengal


Rod Puppets: The rod puppets, often larger than glove puppets are supported and manipulated by rods of various types and sizes. In rod puppets the action of the rods are concealed in many ways. The main holding rod that supports the puppet may be hidden by a robe or costume of the puppet. The action rods are usually connected to the hands of the puppet and manipulated by the puppeteer to show action.  Rod puppet shows are prevalent in the states of Assam (Putula nach), Orissa (Kathi- Kundhei-nach) and West Bengal (Danger Putul nach).



​​​​​​Different types of puppets are used in traditional puppetry.  The differences exist not only in names, but also in form, structure, manipulation and presentation techniques. The different traditional forms are glove, rod, string, and shadow puppets. The local name given to puppetry varies from state to state within India.

Glove Puppets: The glove puppet, also known as hand puppets is a small figure having head and arms with a long skirt as part of its costume.  The puppeteer wears the puppet like a glove and fits the index finger into the hollow head of the puppet. The middle finger and the thumb fit into the two hollow hands of the puppet. One puppeteer can manipulate two puppets at a time.  Glove puppet shows are prevalent in the states of Kerala (Pava-kathakali), Orissa (Sakhi Kundhei- nacha) and West Bengal (Bener Putul nach).